Arguably the most hot-button item widely discussed this preseason was Graham Zusi's move to rightback. The veteran appeared on the backline a handful of times in 2016, but only in emergency situations. Moving forward, Zusi looks to be a permanent fixture at the position, which has already surprised many, given Saad Abdul-Salaam's ability there.
Drafted in 2015, Abdul-Salaam has made 52 regular-season appearances for Sporting Kansas City, including 36 starts. He was in the starting 11 for 77 percent of the club's matches last season, and proved to be one of the top young rightbacks in all of MLS.
So, how is Peter Vermes handling the shakeup, including dealing with each player's confidence, and most importantly team chemistry? The manager discussed just that during Tuesday's Media Day.
Later in the day, Zusi touched on how he's handled the process, and what both players should look forward to at the position this season.
"I think it's been a fairly smooth transition," he said. "There are aspects of it that are a little different. I think the biggest one for me was the instinctual part of the position, recognizing when to press and when to drop and delay. Every practice and game is a learning position for me."
"There's no doubt in my mind Saad will see the position as well," Zusi continued. "The past couple years he's done well and he needs to continue to grow and get better, but I think what Peter has asked from that position is for the outside backs to get forward. Especially with this team, that's what we can do."